Maine’s Best Farm Fair

Uncommon. That’s what the Maine Common Ground Fair is. Held every year in Unity, Maine in the middle of September (this year it was the 21st – 23rd), this fair always means uncommon food, uncommon people, uncommon fun. It’s like a flea market, and a farmers market, and a sustainable growing seminar all in one, where once a year thousands of Mainers with their children, dogs, horses, sheep, goats, cows, rabbits, chickens, vegetables, crafts, fine-art and a zillion other things descend to swap stories, products, eat fried haddock, fried dough, pies, ice-cream-cones, and pie in ice-cream-cones and have a generally rip-roaring time.

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Fancy Rooster Out to Pasture

The common ground fair is like a county fair on steroids, except that the whole point is that everything is organic, environmentally sustainable, and chemical free. Though there are a large number of tourist folk like me, the fair started so that local farmers could swap seeds, animals, and farming techniques – and the proceedings retain an informative air.

I learned to tell difference between bulls, steers, and oxen, here that is in case you are wondering:

“Steer” is a term used for a castrated male, unless kept for draft purposes (ie, pulling carts, plows & logs) in which case he is called an “Ox” (plural “oxen”), Oxen are usually over four years old because of the training they need to become good workers. A “Bull” is an intact full grown male.

I learned which commands any draft horse or ox worth its weight needs to know:

1. get up, 2. whoa (stop), 3. back up, 4. gee (turn to the right) and 5. haw (turn to the left)

I found myself wondering what we would sound like giving directions if we used these terms ourselves…“Gee at the second Whoa light and continue straight, its the first house on the haw”


Hungry Ox

Patted red-brown goats from the calahari desert, and rabbits so bizarrely fluffy that they had to be sheared like sheep (and then wear sweaters to keep off the Maine chill!)

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Sweater Bunny Kalahari Goat

The food was fantastic, the day even better, and by the time we left in dwindling daylight, I was feeling some serious guilt that my rental didn’t have a converted grease engine, like many in the long, long line of cars in front and behind me. My cats loved the organic catnip I bought them so much, they removed it from my suitcase before I’d even the chance to unpack it.

Next September if you can, head to this fair. See the website

(Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association)

8 Responses to “Maine’s Best Farm Fair”

  1. Deirdre says:

    Hi Evette,

    I am a New Yorker living in Sweden. and I just saw the episode of Rachel Ray where you showed picture frames that you made – one of them was your mom and dad’s engagement day with their love letters pasted on the frame. Are there pictures of these on-line? How did you make them? They are great. And I love the cigar boxes and mason jars too! Thanks for the ideas.


  2. Erika says:

    You went up to Unity!? Wow. Personally I’m a big fan of the yarmouth Clam Festival and the cumberland county fair. Probaly because they are right in my area. Fair food is definitly the best. The Rockland Lobster Festival is huge here as well. Oh yah, and we’re ‘r’s here. ;)

  3. Laura says:

    One of the best things about the Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine is the ability to take a ride on the train {belfast Moosehead line) to the fair site and leave the traffic behind. The fair is a fall favorite of our family…and yes we are Mainers pronouncing our R’s :-)

  4. heather says:

    Yes! The Yarmouth Clam Festival is awesome. I have also been to the Common Ground Fair. I miss all of this now that I live in Virginia. Thanks for a great article

  5. Mari says:

    Hi Evette,

    I had commented this summer regarding the plexiglass coaster idea.. and i bookedmarked it, and was taken off the website when the new season website went up. Do you mind giving me and others the info again. thanks so much again, and so happy to see you again!

  6. Lisa Andersen says:

    Yes, I looove the Common Ground Fair. I live in Maine and have only been to it once, but it was awesome. Unfortunately, I did not get to go this year but am already planning for next year. The food they have there is so great and I love learning about the animals. Do you attend every year? Do you have a booth there?

  7. Evette says:

    Hi Mari!

    I am so happy that you liked the coaster idea! I have the instructions for you and will post soon.

  8. Hi Evette & Mari, could I rec’d a copy of this info as well. I live in CT and we’d (as a family)love to visit Common Fair Grounds! Thanks for the info!

    Erica, thanks for the Lobster info too!!

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